July 22, 2014

10 Ways to Increase Happiness and Self Confidence

Happy Tuesday! Do you have any fun plans for this week and/or upcoming weekend? Let me know in the comments below. I will personally be working a lot and will also be looking forward to some exciting plans for Friday. It should be a great time!

Today, we'll be discussing self confidence. Do you struggle with insecurity? I think that a lot of young people do, and I would actually have to say that I also have a hard time with this, too. These days, we live in a culture that basks in a sense of competition and hierarchy. We tend to compare ourselves with other people with the visual of a ladder. She's better than me at this, I'm better than him at that. This group needs to improve on one thing, and I want to beat so-and-so at this other thing. Personally, I experience the most competition as a pre-med student. How do I stand as opposed to my competition when it comes to grades? Internships? Research? Extracurricular activities? Test scores? Community service hours? 

When you're constantly finding your spot on the ladder based on where everyone else is, how do you not start feeling that self confidence level take a hit?

Well, here are ten tips for trying to help boost that self esteem (and happiness overall!). I hope you find these helpful and inspiring as you go about your week! 

#10: Think about your long-term goals frequently. Do you want to travel? Take up a new hobby? Have a successful career? Run a marathon? Become financially stable? Start a family? Make new friends? Grow in your faith and spirituality? Well, you could have all of these goals or even others, but I am a firm believer that long-term goals add purpose to life. And I think that having some sort of external purpose outside of solely existing is important. It gives your life meaning, and it also holds you accountable to yourself. These goals are what you want to achieve, so it's up to you to make them happen. As you come closer to reaching these and start setting new ones, you'll also come to appreciate how much you are capable of!

#9: Work toward your short-term goals. It's no good to just think about your long-term goals and then do nothing about them. It's best to plan out some of the steps you want to take in order to reach that long-term goal, kind of like having stops along the route in a road trip. Smaller journeys within a long one. Goals within goals. Achievement doesn't happen overnight, you have to work toward it every day. Doing this will increase your sense of self efficacy, and perhaps your self confidence will follow.

#8: Have fun with friends. Kicking back and letting loose can really work wonders, guys. Since I'm more of a Type-A(sian) personality, I don't really know if I believe in the "work hard, play harder" mentality because I tend to find a lot of value in the work I do. But, what is the point of working hard if you can't spend your life doing anything fun with the people around you? When you're having fun, it takes your mind off the stress that can cause insecurity and improve your perspective on the people around you--and yourself. Make some new memories, and enjoy life! 


#7: Think laterally. I've addressed this in previous posts, but one's perspective on life can really transform when you think of everybody on a plain as opposed to a ladder. It ultimately comes down to accepting that every person has strengths and weaknesses, and the combinations of these strengths and weaknesses are unique to each person. Learn to embrace the people you come across as individuals. Think about yourself as an individual who has his/her own special place in the world. Find some self-acceptance, and then start building that self confidence.

#6: Eat healthy and be fit. We tend to have a more holistic approach to happiness, spirituality, and self esteem here at Smiles No Matter, and I would definitely say that although your physical appearance doesn't necessarily make you more confident, how you feel physically can make a huge impact. A lot of people don't think that they're the "exercising type" or the "healthy type." Although going to the gym every day or only eating salads sounds intense, these aren't the only ways to be healthy. People who spend 3-7 hours a week are already doing themselves a favor with little cost. And it's okay to still eat a lot as long as you're putting good foods into your body (it might even be better). Start with small steps. Instead of that bag of potato chips, try some carrot sticks or an apple. Instead of a Big Mac for lunch, try a grilled chicken sandwich. Go for a 20-minute walk after dinner. Drink a glass of water or tea every morning. These are just a few little ways to start moving toward a healthier lifestyle. When your body starts feeling better, you will too!

#5: Clean your space. This again goes into a more holistic perspective. Maintaining a clean and tidy desk, bedroom, and kitchen helps make work less stressful, rest more refreshing, and cooking more enjoyable. Take care of your home! 

#4: Do something kind for somebody else. There's a lot of talk about "survival of the fittest" these days, but one way a species stays fit is through altruism, which is a sense of self-sacrifice for the sake of another individual in the population. Why compete against someone if you can help her/him? Remember that you have the power to make a difference in another's life, and this can be a beautiful thing.

#3: Step out of your comfort zone. How do you expect to grow if you don't push yourself to try new things, take on different challenges, and experience life?

#2: Accept that bad things happen. Are you somebody who has a hard time getting over mistakes and bad times? I can say that I am definitely one of these people. When I see injustice or if I do something that hurts somebody else, I feel guilt for not having done more, and become filled with remorse for not having lived up to a standard or expectation that I'd held for myself. If you're like this too, I know what you're going through! Unfortunately, dwelling on the negative is harmful because it means that we're not focusing on the positive, and this can really tear down that self esteem. Instead of reliving the pain or guilt, accept it and find a way to move on. Whether this means making an apology, granting forgiveness, or addressing whatever needs to be fixed, do it as soon as possible. And when things blow up (and they will, because that's how life is), don't just learn to forgive others. Learn to forgive yourself, too.

#1: Remember the difference between self confidence and arrogance. It is possible to have self confidence and be happy while still maintaining humility. Self confidence is about accepting and loving yourself as a person--there is a lot of room to put others' needs ahead of your own while you have self confidence. 

So those are ten simple ways to increase your self confidence (and overall happiness too)! 

What's one thing you have done to help yourself? Any fun stories about stepping outside your comfort zone? Let me know in the comments below! 

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! 

Smile on,
-Riley XO


  1. This was a good post.
    I'd share something personal, but unfortunately, I cannot remember anything worth sharing at the moment.. D:
    Have a nice day :)

  2. Haha Catalina! I appreciate your valiant effort to brainstorm. I'm glad you liked the post and hope you have a wonderful day yourself!

    -Riley XO

  3. This was a very good post - many good takeaways personally! Keep up the great work!

  4. Thanks Kumar!! I'm glad you liked it and hope you'll be able to put some of these tips to good use. And I shall do my best :)


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